Sunday, May 29, 2011

Let's Play Carmen San Diego, Shall We??

As you know, I'm kind of obsessed with the geographical location of DC's fictional cities (as is my friend Siskoid). So when I come upon actual data in an actual DC story, you know I'm paying attention.

In Batman: Gotham Knights #1 (2000), Dick Grayson is tolling down the highway on his bike, and we see the following sign:

After taking Robin's call, he does a quick U-turn and...

We should acknowledge the following caveats: A) These are road signs, so this is driving distance, not "as the crow flies" distance, and there can be some considerable differences based on how much meandering various highways do. B) Many highway distance signs are notoriously poor approximations C) This is the DC Universe, so of course things there may not be located exactly where they are on our Earth...(particularly if you buy the Busiek Hypothesis. In Avengers/JLA, Kurt Busiek revealed that the DC Earth was larger than the Marvel Earth, and hence had more surface area, and thus more room for all these fictional towns.)

So, given those limitations, these signs tell us:

**Bludhaven and Gotham City are about 40 miles apart.

**Gotham is between Boston and Baltimore. And the distances are right: Google Maps has the driving distance between Boston and Baltimore at approximately 400 miles. So the signs, which have Gotham 100 miles from Boston and 300 miles from Baltimore, make sense.

**So, given that Gotham has a port, and assuming that it's not in the middle of the ocean; that's it's in a generally southwesterly direction from Boston; given that it's about 300 miles from Baltimore, and 100 miles from Boston; and moving little markers around on Google Maps...

We can conclude that Gotham City is most likely in southern Connecticut (with a slim possibility that it might be in Rhode Island.

Case closed.

Next up: finding a story where someone is driving between Metropolis and somewhere...

8 comments:

Siskoid said...

Great find!

The Mutt said...

New London?

snell said...

Siskoid--pure luck--I found the first dozen issues of B:GK in the quarter bin a couple of weeks ago, and just got around to reading them.

Mutt--Obviously there's too much wiggle-room in our guestimates to ever be sure, but New London is as good a spot as any (which would make Bludhaven...New Haven??)

Whalehead King said...

New London is a good choice for atmosphere, but a small city: 5 square miles, 25,000 people. New Haven is the better choice for Gotham and much of Yale's gothic architecture supports that locale.

Not that New London isn't the home of legendary exploits, of course.

snell said...

Well, obviously, DC's New London wouldn't be there anymore had Gotham been founded there (or nearby, and later expanded to absorb it). Or, if you follow the Busiek Theorem, there's room enough for both...

Eyz said...

Awesome post :P

I still say, Marvel has just as many fictional places, only, all cramped around Europe. (seriously though, where's Latveria?? OVER another country? Next to some others?)

snell said...

Eyz, Marvel actually published a two-issue atlas a couple of years back, showing where all of those fictional places were, including Latveria. I'll be damned if I can find it right now, but Marvel's website tells us "The nation is bordered by Transylvania, Symkaria, Serbia, Hungary and others." And here's a map Wikipedia is kind enough to provide.

zippyjet said...

Everyone has their opinion and I respect yours. However based on the DC Comic Atlas where the USA is shown in it's actual size Gotham City is in the state of New Jersey in the area between Atlantic City and Cape May. Meaning based on current roads Gotham would be 2.5 to 3 hours from Baltimore. Interestingly, Metropolis is in Delaware right at Cape Henlopen/Lewes, DE. approximately 2 to 3 hours from Baltimore. But I'll throw in additional Interstate Highways and better overall transportation. So, Baltimore to Gotham City, NJ. is a 75 to 90 minute drive. Now, the driving distance from Baltimore to Metropolis would be the same distance. Gotham City, NJ. is East Northeast of Baltimore. Metropolis is South South East of Baltimore. In the DC Universe I-97 goes from Baltimore to Metropolis ending at the Atlantic Ocean beaches of Metropolis. Metropolis has a Beltway numbered 497. Interstate 70 does not end in the Western portion of Baltimore it continues crossing I-95 and cuts across the Chesapeake Bay and Delaware Bay ending on the Atlantic Beaches of Gotham City. Gotham City's beltway is numbered 870. I just learned of the DC Comic atlas. Interestingly I dream on a regular basis of a giant city that has landmarks and locations that are a combination of my hometown Baltimore, with some modified locations that include some from Miami, Miami Beach, and Atlantic City, NJ. My fictitious city is massive and the outskirts of Baltimore and Gotham City literally touch each other. People in my dreams some friends and relatives say they've driven to Gotham City from Baltimore in as little as 65 minutes to a couple complaining of traffic and their drive took upwards of 90 minutes. Gotham City in my dreams is named Diamondback and the state is not necessarily New Jersey. It could be an extended Maryland or Delaware. Just my 2 cents. This continuous dream of this fictional city/geographical area could be an alternate universe or dimension. These dreams have not been nightmarish nor euphoric. Generally neutral to good.